American Elephants

Are the Rules Just Different For This President? by The Elephant's Child


Strange times. Polls show the president with positive job approval ratings, yet the very same polls show a majority don’t approve of the way Obama is handling the deficit or the budget. Pew and Bloomberg polls seem to show that the administration’s “balanced approach” to the deficit which calls for both cuts and increased revenue may be seen as the better argument. Obama’s perennial claim that whatever it is, it isn’t his fault. does still get some traction. It’s simply that the rules are different for Obama. Jonathan Tobin explains:

Obama’s status as the nation’s first African-American president and the consequent kid-glove treatment he gets from the press make it difficult, if not impossible, to hold him accountable for his hypocrisy or his failures. As I wrote earlier in the week, the White House’s innovative strategies for manipulating the media do not fully explain his ability to evade the normal tough scrutiny that any president gets. Nor does the liberal bias of the mainstream media, though that, too, is a contributing factor.

Obama’s identity as the man who makes Americans feel good about their country renders all other factors irrelevant.

But why is the media so completely, adoringly, enamored with this president? They refused to vet him as a candidate, and his ability to evade any kind of tough scrutiny is legendary.  Conservatives struggle to understand because they are immune to the personal charm and speaking ability.

Democrats, historically, have a dreadful record with race. The father of their party, Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, seventh President of the United States, was one of the largest slaveholders in the United States. He battled the Creeks, the Choctaws, the Cherokee and forced the resettlement of 45,000 of them in lands to the west in Arkansas and Oklahoma when around 4,000 died along the infamous “Trail of Tears.”

Wrong side in the Civil War, fighting to preserve slavery, keep the black man down. Responsible for the Ku Klux Klan, voting against the civil rights and voting rights acts, for Jim Crow, so now Democrats hurl charges of “the party of white people” and “racism” at the Republican Party. Um, the Republican party was from the beginning the party of abolition, emancipation, the party of the underground railroad, and the party of voting rights, and civil rights.

In 1957, President Eisenhower sent the troops to Little Rock. 99 members of Congress signed the “Southern Manifesto” denouncing the court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Two were Republicans, 97 were Democrats. Eisenhower pushed through the 1957 Civil Rights Act and the 1960 Civil Rights Act, and desegregated the military. The 1957 bill was opposed exclusively by Democrats, not Southern Democrats but Wayne Morse of Oregon, Warren Magnuson of Washington, James Murray of Montana, Mike Mansfield of Montana and Joseph O’Mahoney of Wyoming.

Without going further into the history of Democrat segregationists — contemporary Democrats are burdened with guilt. Slavery and segregation are, to modern eyes, the very worst thing, the shameful legacy of a country that is “not exceptional,” nothing to be proud of, committed genocide on the Indians, prejudiced, cruel, tortures, warmongers, cruel to poor union men trying to organize, rapacious big business.  At least that’s what Howard Zinn has taught several generations of future lefties, with his pathetic People’s History of the United States.

Always a little light on their knowledge of history, Democrats are incredulous when told that the first slaves in this country were treated much the same as any other indentured servant and freed at the end of a usual term of indenture. Many went on to own slaves themselves. Many are unaware that most Indian tribes owned slaves. Few know that the importation of slaves was ended by law in 1807, and that many times more slaves were transported to the sugar islands and South America than ever came to the United States. The overwhelming feelings of deep guilt prevail, and Democrats cannot forgive their country for its historical misdeeds, or themselves for their parents and grandparents.

Barack Obama is not just the first black president of the United States — he is their absolution.

Joe Biden often blurts out the truth quite accidentally. In January 2007, he told the New York Observer: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” And so he was. Graduate of Columbia, Harvard Law, not just articulate, but an excellent speaker.

Because they voted for him, supported him, adored him, they have been absolved of their guilt. No wonder he’s so often pictured with a halo of one sort or another. That’s why he was never vetted for his extraordinary lack of experience, for his radical history, for his Chicago politics. That’s why the media gives him kid glove treatment.  Why his improbable claims get a free pass.

Obama feels free to manipulate the press, who are too favorably inclined towards him to question the president. The poll numbers have led the president to believe that a public campaign of demagoguery aimed at portraying Republicans as the party of the rich, seeking to cut aid to the poor, will convince most people.  The laws of political gravity may just not apply to Barack Obama at all.  We’ll see.

ADDENDUM: Error: The 1957 Voting Rights Act was opposed largely by the Senate’s Southern Democrats in AL (Hill, Sparkman); AK (Fullbright, McClellan); GA( Russell, Talmadge; MI( Eastland, Stennis); NC (Ervin, Scott); VA (Byrd, Robertson); SC (Johnston, Thurmond); and OR (Wayne Morse) There were 4 Senators not voting or voting present. It passed overwhelmingly. I got my original information from another article rather than a vote roll. My mistake. I could not find the House vote. Thanks to Craig Moore for correcting me.

America’s Spending Problem is Dire. And Unsustainable. by The Elephant's Child

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) — is the official auditor for the Obama administration and the federal government. They released their assessment  of the federal government on January 17. 2013. The report’s findings demonstrate officially just how dire America’s spending problem is, and how little current cuts do to fix it.

Breitbart includes some excerpts from the findings:

  • Current policy is not sustainable. Preventing the debt to GDP ratio from rising over the next 75 years will require some combination of spending reductions and revenue increases that amount to 2.7 percent of GDP over the period.
  • Projected GDP growth is on average smaller than the projected government borrowing rate over the next 75 years.
  • If the primary surplus was precisely zero in every year, then debt would grow at the rate of interest in every year, which would be faster than GDP growth.

President Obama and his media allies claim blithely that the government doesn’t have a spending problem but we have a health care problem. In his Wall Street Journal interview with John Boehner, writer Steve Moore was straightforward:

What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: “At one point several weeks ago,” Mr. Boehner says, “the president said to me, ‘We don’t have a spending problem.”

The president’s insistence that Washington doesn’t have a spending problem, Mr. Boehner says, is predicated on the belief that massive federal deficits stem from what Mr. Obama called “a health-care problem.” Mr. Boehner says that after he recovered from his astonishment—”They blame all of the fiscal woes on our health-care system”—he replied: “Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem.” He repeated this message so often, he says, that toward the end of the negotiations, the president became irritated and said: “I’m getting tired of hearing you say that.”

An annoying fact that usually gets lost in the conversation is that the cost of health care was declining before the Democrat Congress, because of greater efficiency, increasingly better diagnostic techniques, and new drugs that control or alleviate serious disease. This reaffirms that health care reform was not about getting health care spending under control but about creating a new entitlement.

You have seen this week the cries of agony from the administration about the horrible things that will happen if the sequestration is not repealed. Remember that the sequestration was President Obama’s idea, as a potential trap for Republicans.  The Washington Post demonstrated their usual suck-uppery in bemoaning the potential tragedy of the sequester.

735142850The year 2012 ended with a deficit larger than the entire gross domestic product (GDP) of the American economy. That’s not sustainable, and it is indeed, the spending.

There have been commissions and committees over the years to investigate and propose an end to waste in government, for there is plenty of it. Duplication abounds. We fund all sorts of absolutely useless things. The federal government is doing all sorts of things it shouldn’t be doing at all. Education is the business of localities or states, not the federal government.

The Agriculture Department has more employees than farms. My personal candidate to be completely abolished is the EPA. The White House needs a distinct slashing of the number of czars. Ask almost any American, and with little thought they could come up with significant cut backs. We do need a new committee or agency to abolish unnecessary rules and regulations. We go to great lengths to establish them, but there is really no mechanism to determine what is useless or damaging and can beneficially be eliminated.

But please, no more commissions who will make recommendations that will be completely ignored by the powers that be. Set up a program that will actually have real results.

An Interactive Graphic of the Scale of the Universe by The Elephant's Child

Understanding everything from microscopic to unimaginably vast: An Interactive Scale of the Universe.  Or you could call it an interactive visual essay on size. Fascinating. At the same site are also “Powers of Ten.” “The Most Astounding Fact,” and “the Observable Universe.”

Changes your perceptions a little, or a lot. What a lot of work went into this video. Aside from just being really cool, it gives a hint of what education could be, if it were enhanced with interactive maps and timelines, pictures and portraits. You can read about a person, read their writings, but they don’t become fully real until you have some sense of what they look like.

I was unfortunate enough to have a history professor in college who was date obsessed. He would even give Saturday morning pop quizzes in which we had to construct a timeline of events from, say, 1872—1882. Developed a deep dislike of history for me, and it was only several years later that I began to read history and learned that it could be fascinating after all.


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